Living in Swanage I am a regular visitor to Chapman’s Pool, as one of the lovelier if less accessible spots on Purbeck’s stretch of the Jurassic Coast. Following negative coverage in the local press accompanied by a photograph of the rubbish which had accumulated in the bay over the last few months, a member of the public contacted the Jurassic Coast Team to ask if anything could be done.
John Hayes, senior warden from the Dorset Countryside Service stepped forward with a team of willing rangers and other helpers, and a cleanup team was duly organised with which I volunteered to help. We met up at the Renscombe car park above Chapman’s Pool, and despite a few looming clouds and the usual winds whipping across to Worth Matravers, it was great to be out of the office and enjoying the coast first hand for a change. Equipped with gloves, bags and the necessary supplies, we set off down to the cove to tackle the mess. There followed a solid session of 2 hours working our way methodically down the gulley, starting with the myriad plastic bottles scattered up the hill by the wind, before reaching the beach where the majority of the rubbish lay scattered in amongst the seaweed.
By lunchtime we had filled around 40 bags with assorted rubbish, and felt we had earned our sandwiches, although unfortunately the weather started to change for the worse. It was around this time that I had to leave to attend a meeting at Bournemouth Town Hall, and as the rain started to come in, I packed up my things to good-natured cries of ‘lightweight’! Jokes aside, it was good fun to work with the countryside team, and there was a great sense of fulfilment in looking back at the beach to see the significant difference we had made in a few hours. Although the job of beach cleaning may seem like an endless task, it was a real and inspiring reminder of what can be achieved, and the weather apparently turned back for the better just after I left!
Ben Wyer , Jurassic Coast SWRDA Programme Officer